University of Oulu

Marja-Liisa Laitala, Miira M. Vehkalahti & Jorma I. Virtanen (2018) Frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets starts at early age, Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 76:2, 105-110, DOI: 10.1080/00016357.2017.1387929

Frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets starts at early age

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Author: Laitala, Marja-Liisa1,2; Vehkalahti, Miira M.3; Virtanen, Jorma I.1,4
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
2Kallio Public Health Care
3Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki
4Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-12-01


Objectives: We aimed to investigate the habitual consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and sweets in relation to mothers’ behaviours and practices with their infants.

Methods: We targeted mothers with children 1–24 months (N = 200) visiting Public Child Health clinics in Finland. During routine visits mothers (N = 179) volunteered to complete a self-administered anonymous questionnaire about their child’s health-related behaviours (consumption of sweets and SSBs, tooth brushing frequency). The questionnaires also included questions about the mothers’ background (age, education) and health-related behaviours (consumption of sweets, tooth brushing frequency and smoking habits). The children were categorised by age, and Chi-squared tests, Fischer’s exact test, ANOVA and correlation coefficient served for the statistical analyses.

Results: Of those under 6 months, almost half (44%) received SSBs, and 45% of them more than once a week. Their use gradually increased by age such that by 19–24 months, all received SSBs at least sometimes, and 56%, frequently. Fewer than half of the mothers (33–43%) gave sweets to their children between the ages of 10–15 months, but 92% by the age of 2 years. Children’s twice-a-day tooth brushing increased from 14% to 33%. The child’s age and tooth brushing frequency correlated with the consumption of sugar-sweetened products (r = 0.458).

Conclusions: Infants frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened products begins early in childhood. Thus, tackling these common risk factors in the first years of life is essential and calls for health-promoting actions in multiple areas that target primarily the parents of infants.

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Series: Acta odontologica Scandinavica
ISSN: 0001-6357
ISSN-E: 1502-3850
ISSN-L: 0001-6357
Volume: 76
Issue: 2
Pages: 105 - 110
DOI: 10.1080/00016357.2017.1387929
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 313 Dentistry
Copyright information: © Acta Odontologica Scandinavica Society. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.